SEC coaches Dan Mullen and Mark Richt find their way off the list mostly because it seems decreasingly likely there will be no turnover in the conference this season. Mullen’s Mississippi State beat a bad Kentucky team in Starkville this week on national television. Georgia, meanwhile, watched its stock improve during its bye week. Missouri’s loss to South Carolina gives the Bulldogs a shot at the SEC East again, especially if they can get a little healthier. RB Todd Gurley could return this week for the game against Florida.
Nebraska coach Bo Pelini made the biggest charge toward the top after his team fell at Minnesota. Well-chronicled off-the-field issues have far more to do with Pelini’s trouble than what Nebraska has done with him on the sideline.
Meanwhile, former hottest-seat coach Mack Brown at Texas continues to improve his standing by leading the Longhorns to wins – the most recent coming at TCU this weekend. Texas remains unbeaten in Big 12 action and could play for the conference title in Waco when the Longhorns square off with Baylor.
This still seems like a light firing season in the BCS conferences. Of the 10 coaches on the hot-seat list, as many as five still have a better-than-average chance to save their jobs.
Here is your Week 9 BCS Conference Coaches Hot Seat Top 10:
(Already fired: Lane Kiffin, USC (9/29), Paul Pasqualoni, Uconn (9/30).)
1. Mike London, Virginia (Last Week: 1); Lost to Georgia Tech, 35-25
In defense of London and the Cavaliers, Virginia was in this game late. “In the game,” though, doesn’t factor into the win-loss record. The Cavaliers scored to pull to within three points behind QB David Watford’s TD pass with 3 minutes to go. Watford turned in a career-best game, throwing for 376 yards. However, Georgia Tech RB David Sims put the game away with a 29-yard TD run. Virginia (2-6, 0-4) allowed the Yellow Jackets ran for 394 yards and 5 TDs. Next up: Clemson.
2. Bo Pelini, Nebraska (Last Week: 8); Lost at Minnesota, 34-23
Pelini’s defense continues to be a problem, allowing 271 rush yards to Minnesota this week. The Cornhuskers’ struggles against mediocre competition combined with Pelini’s version of Worst Week Ever when they lost to UCLA spell trouble in Lincoln. Pelini needed Nebraska (5-2, 2-1) to remain undefeated in conference play until it reached the “difficult” portion of the slate. Then again, that is a relative term considering Northwestern was considered one of the better teams and is now 0-4 in league play. Big Red certainly doesn’t have too much love for Pelini after the recording of his venting toward fans released. Winning cures all, but coaches have to win for that to work. Next up: Northwestern.
3. Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia (Last Week: 4); Lost at Kansas State, 35-12
Nothing is going well for Holgorsen’s offense. The quarterbacks combined to complete just 19 of 42 passes and the run game barely produced 100 yards. Holgorsen has been around long enough that there’s no good excuse for the offense to be so devoid of talent. West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) should still reach a bowl game – three of the last four games are against lifeless TCU, Kansas and Iowa State teams. However, the program clearly isn’t following the steps taken when the Mountaineers won the Orange Bowl in Holgorsen’s first season. Next up: at Kansas State.
4. Charlie Weis, Kansas (Last Week: 2); Lost to Baylor, 59-14
Hey, it could have been worse. Baylor has grown accustomed to hanging 60-plus on teams. Sure, the Bears pulled the first-team offense early in the second half, but the Jayhawks still head Baylor to less than 60. Seriously, though, the Bears racked up 743 total yards of offense and led Kansas (2-5, 0-4) 38-0 at halftime. Nobody is saying Weis had a fully stocked roster when he took over, but at some point coaches have to win or find new jobs. Next up: at Texas.
5. Mack Brown, Texas (Last Week: 3); Won at TCU, 30-7
Don’t look now, but Texas (5-2, 4-0) leads the Big 12 and Brown has a realistic chance to save his job if he continues to win. The Longhorns dismantled TCU on Saturday night, allowing just a trick-play touchdown. Games against Oklahoma State and Baylor loom, but Texas now has itself in position to win the conference. Four weeks ago, that would have sounded ridiculous. Next up: Kansas.
6. June Jones, SMU (Last Week: 7); Beat Temple, 59-49
How bad is SMU’s defense? The Mustangs (3-4, 2-1) managed to outscore Temple. So that’s the good news. The bad news, though, is that the Owls showed zero ability to score points through the first half of the season. They entered Saturday’s game with one win – over Army – and 112th in the nation in scoring offense. Yet Temple hung 49 on SMU. Mustangs QB Garrett Gilbert, who Texas coach Mack Brown recruited as a quarterback, accounted for 635 total yards of offense and 6 TDs. Next up: Bye week.
7. Tim Beckman, Illinois (Last Week: NR); Lost to Michigan State, 42-3
An early win over Cincinnati made it seem as though the Illini perhaps turned a corner under Beckman. Unfortunately for Illinois, the season continued past the second game of the season. Illinois (3-4, 0-3) managed just 128 total yards of offense and eight first downs, getting completely dismantled by Michigan State. Beckman is now 0-11 in Big Ten games. This can’t be stressed enough: Beckman inherited a team that went to consecutive bowl games. He has gone wrecked that program into one that has managed just five non-conference wins during his tenure. Getting QB Wes Lunt to sign and sit out a year before becoming eligible in 2014 might have bought Beckman another season. But surely, at some point, Beckman needs to prove he can actually – you know – coach. A Nov. 23 game against Purdue seems like Beckman’s best chance – and perhaps his last stand. Next up: at Penn State.
8. Paul Rhoads, Iowa State (Last Week: NR); Lost to Oklahoma State, 58-27
The first four seasons under Rhoads provided Iowa State fans the types of highs through massive upsets that this program wants. The Cyclones escaped the cellar of the Big 12, but have been unable to climb to a higher level than every win being an upset. Now Iowa State (1-6, 0-4) finds itself back in the bottom of the league and getting blown out in the previous two games. Be clear: Iowa State can’t do much better than Rhoads, who has gotten offers from other programs because of the job he has done in Ames. But with ever-increasing expectations everywhere in college football, a hideous Year 5 could leave Rhoads in trouble. Next up: at Kansas State.
9. Larry Fedora, North Carolina (Last Week: 6); Beat Boston College, 34-10
Saturday started an easy six-game stretch that will determine whether or not Fedora sees a Year 3. The answer is that he will almost certainly be back next year considering what he inherited, but a continued disaster of a season could change that. The Tar Heels (2-5, 1-3) finally took care of business, dominating Boston College. Next up: North Carolina State.
10. Randy Edsall, Maryland (Last Week: 5); Lost to Clemson, 40-27
An injury-depleted Maryland team hung with Clemson through three quarters before the Tigers ran away in the fourth. The Terrapins (5-3, 1-3), led by QB2 Caleb Rowe, turned the ball over four times. A few of those were critical mistakes. No coach would be able to overcome the absurd injury rash Maryland is trying to navigate. However, Edsall’s two-plus year record is now 11-21 as the Terps coach. Next up: Syracuse.
Feeling heat: Paul Johnson (Georgia Tech), Matt Rhule (Temple), Mark Richt (Georgia), Dan Mullen (Mississippi State), Will Muschamp (Florida), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest), Kirk Ferentz (Iowa), Darrell Hazell (Purdue), Willie Taggart (South Florida), Dave Doeren (North Carolina State), Bret Bielema (Wisconsin), Mark Stoops (Kentucky), Tommy Tuberville (Cincinnati), Kevin Wilson (Indiana).
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